To celebrate Horror Flora‘s four year anniversary, I’ve prepared a special treat for you: a bestiary for a non-existent monster catching game inspired by this website’s Iconic Characters of Horror Fiction essay series. Welcome to 4 Horror War, where people raise different Archetypal Fears – “Arkies” for short – into powerful monsters, and then battle each other to prove the superiority of their chosen fears. I’ll be posting a different Arky family each day from now through Halloween – today’s Arky family of the day belongs to Cosmic Horror, THE SPOOKY SPAGHETTI FAMILY!
Now, before we dive in to the gritty details, an explanation/reminder of how this non-existent mons game works. Unlike Pokemon, evolution is not necessarily an upgrade – in other words, the first stage of a given family is generally on par with the most “advanced” stage. Evolution reshuffles stats rather than straight-up improving them, allowing the Arky to function differently on the team.
In addition to giving you alternate options/strategies for a given Arky, the family tree of each Archetypal Fear is sort of a huge meta-reference to how actual horror archetypes have, well, evolved in fiction. Though I’ve had to stretch now and then with the families to make every monster I wanted to make fit, the meta commentary is more or less accurate enough to make my inner horror nerd happy.
Ok, enough pre-amble, let’s dive in:
Innocuous at first glance, Boobtube fascinates those who watch it, stunning monsters who try to attack it for four rounds before they can finally deal their their damage. With a variety of maddening debuffs at its disposal and the ability to deal psychic harm to its enemies from long range, it is a devastating fighter when wielded by a skilled Fear Crafter.
After slaying four foes in battle, Boobtube can evolve into Lankylad. Though not quite as masterful at wielding debuffs as its predecessor, Lankylad makes up for it by being a far more capable attacker, being equally gifted with close and long range attacks thanks to its stretchy arms.
After winning a battle using solely attack moves, Lankylad can evolve into Sporc. Abandoning the legacy of misdirection and fascination that worked for its predecessors, this Akry relies solely on close range physical strength, tearing foes apart with is horrid claws like a feral beast.
After connecting to a video game console, Boobtube can evolve into Sanyick. A ghastly distortion of a popular video game character, Sanyick paralyzes foes with fear by turning the familiar into the strange, then tears them apart while they’re distracted.
After dying in combat four times, Sanyick can evolve into Slaughtermaus. With an absurdly high health pool, any damage inflicted on Slaughtermaus will be dealt four-fold upon every enemy that remains on the field. Consequently, all of Slaughtermaus’s attacks automatically target Slaughtermaus itself.
Evolving from Sanyick after fighting a Kaiju Arky in combat, Porple is a swift moving powerhouse that shreds any creature unfortunate enough to let it catch them.
After bonding with its owner, Boobtube can evolve into Straytulpa. A violently protective imaginary friend, this nightmare being is summoned into existence by the power of human thought, and relishes the opportunity to fulfill its creator’s most wicked desires.
After reading an instruction manual for the care of fruits, Straytulpa can evolve into Redfrend, a towering worm whose presence boosts the attack power of allies.